Evan McMullin, the impartial candidate for Senate in Utah, confronted incumbent Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) on Monday over his position within the plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election within the rivals’ Senate debate.
Textual content messages from Lee to former White Home chief of workers Mark Meadows revealed how Lee helped push legally doubtful schemes to maintain then-President Donald Trump in energy earlier than shifting course and voting to certify the 2020 election on January 6, 2021. Lee additionally inspired prime Trump advisers to embrace Sidney Powell, a Republican lawyer who unfold baseless claims of a rigged election.
“That was essentially the most egregious betrayal of our structure in our nation’s historical past and it will likely be your legacy,” McMullin mentioned in Monday’s debate.
“When the barbarians had been on the gate, you had been blissful to allow them to in,” McMullin added, referring to texts Lee despatched to Meadows, urging him to hearken to individuals like Powell and John Eastman, a right-wing legal professional who authored “coup memos” on overturning the election.
Lee defended himself by saying he was merely trying into “rumors” of alternate slates of electors within the weeks earlier than Congress voted to certify the 2020 presidential election, noting he finally voted to affirm Democrat Joe Biden as president.
“There’s completely nothing to the concept I might have supported a pretend elector plot … It’s not true. You owe me an apology,” Lee advised McMullin.
The conservative senator then held up his pocket structure. “How dare you, sir,” he added.
McMullin shot again: “Senator Lee has been doing this factor together with his pocket structure for the final a number of years … The structure just isn’t a prop so that you can wave about after which when it’s handy for you to your pursuit of energy to desert with no thought.”
In a Dec. 8, 2020 textual content message to Meadows, Lee urged “there might be a path” towards overturning the outcomes of the 2020 election “if a really small handful of states had been to have their legislatures appoint various slates of delegates.”
Nonetheless, by Jan. 3, 2021, simply days earlier than the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol by a whole lot of Trump supporters, Lee appeared to expertise a change of coronary heart. In textual content messages to Meadows, he warned the trouble may “backfire badly” and urged him to persuade Trump to alter course.
“We merely haven’t any authority to reject a state’s licensed electoral votes within the absence of a dueling slates, with the Trump slate coming from a state legislative dedication,” Lee mentioned on Jan. 4.
Lee is going through a tighter-than-expected problem from McMullin, a former CIA officer and Home GOP staffer. The race isn’t thought-about aggressive, however a current ballot discovered McMullin inside a putting distance of 4 factors.